THERE are sixty-four verses or Mantras in this
Upanisad, divided into three chapters each comprising of
two Sections or Khandas. The whole book as well as
each chapter is called Mundaka, a word etymologically
denoting a shaving razor and a person “with a shaven
head, namely, a Sannyasin or a monk. A probable
explanation for naming the Upanisad thus is made out
from these two senses of the word by some who say
(l) that para-vidya or the higher wisdom so lucidly and
directly taught herein removes the superimposed veil
of ignorance obscuring the Atman just as a razor shaves
off the hair covering the head ; and (2) that this
Upanisad is pre-eminently intended for the Sannyasiny
emphasising as it does the necessity of sannyasa for the
attainment of the Eternal and the Imperishable. It
belongs to the Atharva-veda, and presumably to the
S’aunaklya-s’akha, since its contents were taught to
S’aunaka by Angiras, who in his turn had learned it from
Bharadvaja Satyavaha, the disciple of Atharvan, the
eldest son and pupil of Brahma. The authoritativeness
of the instruction imparted is brought out by this
genealogical table.

By knowing which,” inquires S’aunaka of Angiras,
with due ceremony and reverence,
“is all this the

entire phenomena experienced through the mind and the
senses really understood ?
” To this essential question
of all sciences and philosophy Arigiras gives a proper and
elaborate reply, covering the remaining part of the
Upanisad, and answering all possible questions implied
in the original inquiry.

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